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PRACTICAL HOW TOs in this book:

• Recognise the hidden dark side of leadership
• Conduct business process analyses to determine environmental and social impacts
• Determine and prioritise personal and organisational values
• Use behaviour indicators to instil virtuous habits
• Use gamification to reinforce virtuous behaviours
• Use Anecdote Circles to align organisation with a virtuous value-set
• Develop a talent-attraction and nurturing policy and processes
• Practice deeper mindfulness with organisational benefit
• Take personal responsibility
• Introduce effective communication (including during times of change and transition)
• Apply the innovation skills of questioning, listening and having fun
• Apply a model of 'performance through innovation'
• Carry out interior work, using archetypes
• Conquer fears that lead to dysfunction, and introduce the practice of love into workplaces
• Get ready for a values to virtues journey


Terrence Gargiulo, MMHS. President of and author of The Strategic Use of Stories in Organizational Communications & Learning. Are you open to a renaissance of hope? What does it mean to soar in the sacred space of an organizational geometry that frees its citizens to discern fields of dreams? The authors have crafted a dynamic tapestry of stories, poetry, images, and metaphors to recalibrate our compasses. We are invited to emancipate ourselves from irrelevant and irreverent myths of business. Be well advised this is not another rabbit hole of management jargon. The authors have mixed an alchemical elixir of reflective propositions to transform our thoughts into motions and take us from the realm of possible to actual. This is a call to action and none of us living in today’s world have the luxury to ignore it. Virtuosa is a contribution of heart and soul that will not leave you unchanged. I urge you to step out of your comfort zone and embrace this book’s set of tools to initiate the important work that lies ahead for all of us…to reclaim the integration of each precious moment to something greater than our self.

Peter Christie, aka Big Chief Talking Bull, strategic storyteller and part-time MBA lecturer at Wits Business School and other business schools in South Africa and abroad. The Virtuosa Organisation makes a splendid, sparkling contribution to revising the organisational agenda. The authors coherently, influentially and comprehensively confirm the growing realisation that the business of business is much more than business. Through invoking historical and biographical accounts, entertaining anecdotes and other stories, and a detailed case study, the book outlines powerful concepts and principles promoting sustainable enterprise of the future. One which is more human, more creative and innovative, more virtuously rising circularly towards prosperity. The book should be prescribed reading for all MBA students.

John de Gruchy, Emeritus Professor in Christian Studies, University of Cape Town. I had no idea what to expect when opening The Virtuosa Organisation, no clarity on whether to endorse it or not, or what I might say to commend it if I did. I am delighted by what I found, wholeheartedly recommend it, and hope that it gets a wide readership. Why, you may ask. The reason is simple. There is an urgent need for every organisation, every business, every NGO, to think far beyond the boxes of the past and to pursue goals that will help transform the world in which we live, and contribute significantly to human, social and environmental well-being. We don't only need to add value to what we are doing; we need to pursue and embody those virtues that make this goal possible. And we need to do this urgently. I believe this book read thoughtfully and taken seriously, can help make this possible.

Paul Smith, Key Note Speaker, Author of Lead with a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives that Capture, Convince, and Inspire. We spend most of our waking hours invested in an activity called 'work' that we accept as necessarily selfish - out to enrich ourselves and shareholders at the expense of consumers, society, and the planet. We satisfy our guilt by promising ourselves that we'll feed our souls, support charitable causes, and save the environment in our spare time, whenever we find some. But what if there was another way?
What if you could make the world a better place while you were at work? Read this book and you can.

Dave Snowden, Founder & Chief Scientific Officer, Cognitive Edge Pte Ltd. This book is a powerful presentation of some of the issues associated with organisations and society and the failure of conventional methods to tackle them. It presents a model of human behaviour and interaction which is aspirational in nature. It represents a useful starting point on a journey to change and transformation.

Keith Coats, Founding Partner and Director of Storytelling at Tomorrow Today. It is said that one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover; that is well said. However a good way to judge a book is to browse through the references to determine from what soil it has grown. A quick exploration of The Virtuosa Organisation references will tell you all you need to know about this significant contribution to story. It is more than a ‘good read’ – it is travel guide and companion for one’s journey. This is a wonderful book. A marvellous collection of wisdom and practical advice.

Dr Gerhard van Rensburg, Leadership Coach, Owner New Era Leadership. The Virtuosa Organistion is a major contribution to the process of transforming work organisations from merely economic entities to communities of real people wanting to experience meaning and spiritual upliftment as they work. The authors of this book succeed in advancing the discourse about transformation in organisations to deeper and more fundamental aspects of human life. As long as the efforts of leaders undervalue the richness and fullness of the human spirit by, for instance, labelling employees as human capital or resources, the real transformational potential of the organisations will remain repressed. This is a book that speaks to the heart of organisations, challenging them to become centres of virtue not only for their own sake, but for the sake of a better society.

Marc Feitelberg, Founder of the South African College of Applied Psychology, Corporate Leadership Facilitator, Clinical Psychologist. Working on "values" in organisations has in recent years become a dehydrated exercise in ticking the box. This book inspires the reader to pour life back into this crucial area. It brings values to life by providing practical tools for the business leader who wants to create a sustainable organisation.

Hermann Fischer, Business Psychologist, Geneva, Switzerland. Organisations, as with people, have unique life stories to tell. For those perceptive enough to pick up on both the bold and the nuanced ... Graham’s book provides an insightful perspective on the implications of the above for leaders - from both a personal as well as a professional perspective.

Graham Rowe, Scientist, co-founder of Sancreed, a chronic disease, precision care provider. Technological change means that more and more knowledge workers (not to mention entire businesses and industries) are being gutted and cast aside as ‘software eats the world’. Our role as business leaders is to develop robust, vision-driven teams that thrive under these turbulent and constantly shifting conditions. The Virtuosa Organisation offers a powerful, applicable framework for bringing our most human qualities to the fore, and building the foundation for the more authentic, more responsive and more dynamic organization of the future.

Deon Viljoen, Director of Operations at Southern Sun Resorts, a division of Tsogo Sun. In Graham’s new book, The Virtuosa Organisation, he and his co-authors tackle what I think is one of the most challenging issues for modern organisations: corporate culture. Most leaders ignore this issue or shy away from it, because it is so challenging and effectively out of their control. It also presupposes that there is engagement and alignment within and around the organisation, not easy issues to grapple with. Migrating from values to virtues is definitely the way to go. An insightful and well-presented read for all business leaders. I for one cannot wait for it to be released.

John Griffin, Director, High Chem East Africa Ltd. Fun to read, very digestible and encourages reflection on business from a refreshingly different viewpoint. The congruence of the thinking and the breadth of the approach is totally engaging.

Johann Maree, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Cape Town. I wholeheartedly endorse this book aimed at promoting business that advocates and lives virtues, not only vision and values. Subjects on the development of virtues that really resonated with me: cultivating awareness by means of deeper mindfulness, in praise of emptiness, and experiencing leadership healing and growth. In short, the book calls for the practice of love in business. Such businesses can indeed play a leading role in building a better society.

Prof Rev Jerry Pillay, General Secretary of the Uniting Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa. This book provides a very serious and timely discussion of a really significant matter in our fast-changing world. A world in which values and virtues are not given the appropriate measure of necessity they deserve. In many areas of society there is a conscious attempt to side-line a focus on values, and we are daily seeing how this is negatively impacting on our people and communities. We see this in the violence in schools and in unethical business endeavours to make money. In stressing the "virtuous cycle" the authors show how values undergird and shape every aspect of human life and activity. We cannot simply wish them away or hope that we will function well without them. Without values and virtues we lose sight of who we are, what God has purposed us for on earth, and the need to value, respect and appreciate the other (person).
This book not only convinces regarding the need for values and virtues in the business sector, but succeeds in going beyond this by establishing that values and virtues are indeed the essence of life and living. It is the way God longs for us to be and to live! It is my pleasure and joy to endorse this book and to recommend it to all those who have a desire to live good, purposefully integrated, and virtues-driven lives!

Elma Pollard, eco-consultant and owner and editor of The Green Times. I’m delighted to endorse The Virtuosa Organisation. My mission is to inform, educate and enlighten the business community and wider public on all aspects of crafting an integrated, responsible and sustainable environment - within which all species, humans and business can thrive. Such passion for being virtuous comes from within, and The Virtuosa Organisation not only ignites the spark, it also shows the way and the benefits.

Marcella Bremer, Editor of Leadership and Change Magazine. An interview:


We live in times where corruption, deception and manipulation seem to be the order of the day in the corporate and political worlds. Where might this downward spiral lead?
Old-style capitalism seems to have failed. All over the cry is being heard for authentic, compassionate leadership, responsible capitalism, impact-investments, organisations that go beyond lip-service and consistently display the values that they espouse.
Organisations that have adopted the triple – bottom – line. Organisations that attract and retain talented members who are looking to find meaning and satisfaction in their work, and at their places of work. Organisations that are leaders in the marketplaces and communities that they serve. Organisations that strive to be virtuous.
Yet there are still more cynics than advocates.
In the chapters that follow we walk you through what has been happening in the corporate world, and how an organisation can become virtuous. How organisations can offer society hope for the future, see through the murkiness and reach clarity. It is self-evident that virtuous leadership is needed. The leader’s behaviours usually become imbedded in the culture. Dark-side leadership spawns a ‘fragmentation of conscience’.
However, given a virtuous leadership aspiration, there are processes and techniques that may fruitfully be adopted in the organisation’s quest to become virtuous. Chapters:

1: The dark side of leadership
2: Ripening the Olive
3: Moving From Values to Virtues
4. How do organisations become virtuous
5. Talent to order
6: Paradoxically, nothing is impossible

Moving forward with hope demands that we select a non-threatening, illustrative model to demonstrate what is possible. A model that has no narrow religious source, offers an entertaining and enlightening mirror to reflect upon. A model that has practical relevance for both individuals and organisations.
We believe that the Leonardo da Vinci model meets these requirements.
An examination of his life and works, his frailties, difficulties, artistic and scientific genius, and legacy, enable easy engagement. Popularisation of da Vinci mysteries and ideas in recent novels adds to the interest, and facilitates engagement. Chapters:

7: His Life, Works and Virtues
8: Da Vinci as a non-threatening, illustrative model

It’s time to look at a case study. Its intent, some surprise findings, and realised outcomes. The process followed and the methodologies and techniques employed.
An approach to becoming virtuous that applies at the company, department and team levels.
It can and has been done.
The G-Wiz case study may be viewed as a ‘market research of one’. But the principles adopted are universal, and the lessons learned can be adapted and transplanted to organisations of all shapes and sizes – if the leader is convicted of going this route.

We move into the first da Vinci virtue for organisations and their members to reflect upon. Mindfulness is at the heart of pioneering work in the area of engaging the future by being grounded in the present, and informs the work of business and management thought-leaders like Senge, Jawolki, Scharmer and others.
Mindfulness for leaders and staff members has become recognised as a key skill, trait, and a ‘state’ for the future.
In this section we provide a model of deeper mindfulness that is clear, practical and may be used at a number of levels.
We suggest ways of overcoming constraints to its practice, and ways to develop deeper mindfulness, embodied cognition, ‘right brain’ and ‘left brain’ teamwork - through lifestyle, meditation, labyrinth walking and spotting and addressing blind-spots at individual and organisation levels.
We show the shifts that take place when it is brought to bear, how improved performance results, how virtuous circles are established.
Mindfulness, observation, awareness is the start-point for most major endeavours, changes, improvements. Chapters:

10: Deeper Mindfulness
11: Labyrinths
12: Blind-spots

As we develop deeper mindfulness – both at the individual and organisation level – so the challenge to take responsibility (the next da Vinci virtue) arises. Responsibility for our own affairs and growth, our environment, work performance, attitudes, relationships, reframing of our stories, and the taking of opportunities.
We suggest ways of grappling with the inner and the outer transformations required in the virtuous organisation, of embracing the less obvious and the mundane - in order to transition from chaos to calm. Chapters:

13: Making the mundane meaningful
14: Writing as Healing, and Keeping a Journal
15: Communicating and relating behaviours
16: In praise of emptiness

The need for innovation to not only survive but also thrive in today’s world – again as individuals and organisations – is what makes the next da Vinci value so attractive.
Curiosity – savvy questioning, attentive listening, having the transcendental perspective of wonderment, fun, and harnessing of diversity are important drivers of innovation, and are here explored.
We also offer a framework for innovations – both large and small – that can take place in teams. A way of escaping from ‘locked-in’ thinking, and moving from panic to possibility. Chapters:

17: The Question is …
18: Wonder
19: Chain reaction of Innovation
20: Performance through innovation

Taking responsibility for facing our shadow side, and exploring the da Vinci virtue of balancing - balancing the masculine and feminine, balancing ‘right brain’ and ‘left brain’ – in order to innovate in our own lives, and reframe our stories positively, is the subject of the following chapters. Especially relevant for virtuous leaders.
We look at tapping into the archetypes and stories of our collective unconscious, introducing fun into our serious workplaces in order to derive the benefits of engagement, creativity, well-being and positive energy. Another move from murkiness to clarity. Chapters:

21: Eight Archetypes to live by
22: Story and the unconscious
23: Going to Fun from Monday to Friday

The virtues covered in the previous sections and the following are not stand - alone. Rather they are a cluster of virtues to be integrated.
This integrating of virtues goes hand in hand with the da Vinci virtue of integrating body, mind and spirit - The whole person (or whole organisational persona/ brand).
Individuals and organisations can move from fragmented and disintegrated, to integrated wholeness.
All have potential to become other-oriented by transcending their past baggage and current limiting beliefs.
This involves a heroic journey or process, which is explained. Chapters:

24: Rinpoche people
25: Integrating body, mind, spirit
26: A Hero’s journey

We’ve saved the most important virtue for last.
Ultimately, especially in the corporate world, this is what it is all about.
The transformational power of love in the workplace has long been ignored, made taboo, side-lined or watered down. All too often our expression of love in the workplace is stifled by stereotyping, prejudice, stress, unnecessary conflict, faulty ethics, protective mechanisms, and covered up by ‘business-speak’ – all mainly rooted in fear.
We offer a framework for introducing this virtue successfully, and suggest behaviours that may be adopted in order to create another virtuous circle. Chapters:

27: Being in the love zone
28: Fear Conquers love
29: I am different, don’t hold that against me/ Other People’s Stories
30: Listening with the ear in the chest

We’ve looked at the need for the corporate world to undertake the ‘values to virtues’ journey. For leaders to see the bigger picture, look outwards and inwards, and birth a new way, a new reality.
Virtues lie at the heart of every core, support and enabling process.
We’ve shown that the destination is possible, at the company, division, department, team levels. And that it requires courage and determination.
We’ve offered a process, approach and techniques to guide the journey.
We’ve used Leonardo da Vinci’s values to illustrate the type of virtue-set that leaders and their organisations can examine on the path to selecting and inculcating their own chosen virtues-set, trigger virtuous circles, and become a virtuosa performer.
The next and final chapter is our ‘wrap up’, an exhortation to accept the challenge, make the move.

Chapter 31: The ukulungisa challenge


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